ourfriendstephanie ourfriendstephanie

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SJW  In transit.

This isn’t that #10yearchallenge post (maybe it is), but you already know what I look like now so there won’t be any side-by-side. Ha! I believe in reflection, though. So, let’s reflect. The last ten years have been experienced in equal parts brokenness and elation. I was 20/21 in this photo (2009), in my senior year at Ball State. Deeply disconnected. Struggling in all ways. Navigating through challenging personal things I was ill-equipped to handle. And, about to graduate with a degree in a field that I had lost all passion for right at the very end. I’ll never forget standing in my living room and letting myself finally say it out loud: “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It was a rough couple years after and then things got okay and then it all fell apart again and again, a little bit worse each time, and this would be the continuous cycle of my 20s. And, while I still haven’t reached any sort of revelation in understanding why things are the way that they are — I mean, I’m getting there (I know why), but I owe everything to all the versions of me not only over the past ten years, but the last thirty who endured so I could be in this singular moment in time that I am in now — healing and living onward.

Ahhhhh, forgot how humbling Asia can be for someone with an average American stature. I’m a giant. Hahaha!

Sat under this gorgeous Myanmar umbrella with my darling Eamonn sipping hot coffee. GRATEFUL for slow moments like these. Giant, brightly colored Myanmar umbrellas hold a very special place in my heart and memory. Never forget, @joinchase. Never forget.

Early morning commutes + good conversation.

Built in 1372, Wat Phnom is the central point of Phnom Penh. I actually don’t typically visit many high-profile spots when I’m traveling, but Waheed took me on a grand tour of this wonderful city and I’ve loved every sweaty moment.

Bless. Mercy House is a 100% vegetarian restaurant here in Phnom Penh and it is BOMB. 10/10 Recommend.

My beautiful, Waheed. Gosh, you’re so hot and cute. You tease! Are you smiling? So many of my most treasured memories from Yangon involve you and now we have Phnom Penh. Thank you for always making me feel so cared for and loved, making sure I’m having fun, and for your beautiful life in mine. I love being your friend. I also love photographing your gorgeousness on sunset boat rides.

The owner of Masala Dosa photographed here cleaning his cooking source after serving us our dosas. Favorite restaurant in Phnom Penh (so far).

If you’re ever in Phnom Penh — please go to Blue Chilli. JUST. GO. Especially for drag night. So much wonderful energy, talent, and fun! And, if you’re not much of a drinker — get a tonic water with mint and lime! That was my drink of choice and it was so refreshing and delicious.

Sunrise snaps from somewhere near China.

When @jedidiahjenkins released his book, “To Shake the Sleeping Self” — I drove all over Indianapolis to four different book stores trying to get my hands on a copy. I had been reading it off and on, but a story like this demands your full attention — in the best way, so I dedicated my 15-hour flight to giving it that attention. This story is raw, tender, intense, and honest. If you’re a traveler or dream about traveling — this is for you. If you have/have had a delicate relationship with your family, your faith, your sexuality — this is for you. If you’re someone who challenges the traditional rungs of achievement that supposedly equal a meaningful life — this is for you. If you love good writing — this is for you. 📷: @joinchase (holy throwback)

I’m someone who is simultaneously overly practical while being sentimental to a fault. I always take my rope and this Rubik’s Cube with me when I travel. ALWAYS. I’ve had this rope for over 20 years. My mom and I would spend hours trying to master the different tricks and to this day I can still do them — with my eyes closed, even. Haha! This Rubik’s Cube was a gift to me by my flight seat mate, ZoZo in 2014. We sat next to one another for 14 hours from Tokyo to Minneapolis. ZoZo was a US military nurse from Togo. We shared life stories, the how’s and why’s that brought us to that moment, and he attempted to teach me how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. I never quite got it, but he gifted me his and I’ve kept it close since. 💓

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